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THE UNITED STATES ARMY FIELD BAND
 FORT MEADE, MARYLAND -

Kennedy Center performance to mark Field Band’s 60th anniversary

By Tiffany Holloway
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The U.S. Army Field Band will celebrate its 60th anniversary with a sold-out performance at the Kennedy Center Sunday.
FORT MEADE, Md. (Army News Service, Aug. 16, 2006) – The U.S. Army Field Band will celebrate its 60th anniversary with a sold-out performance at the Kennedy Center Sunday at 3 p.m. The concert will commemorate the service and sacrifice of Soldiers from World War II to the present war on terror.

“We’re thrilled to play at the Kennedy Center. It’s a prestigious venue and we’re looking forward to it,” said Col. Finley Hamilton, commander and conductor of the Field Band, the Army’s premiere touring ensemble.

Among the event’s three honorees will be Master Sgt. Donald Sparks of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment. Sparks was wounded by an IED in Iraq during a convoy mission April 17, 2005. Being honored at the Kennedy Center makes him feel proud, Sparks said, because so many heroes have been honored there.

“I am big on Army traditions and while the Army is transforming, I’m glad we still have traditions that reminds us of who we are. The Field Band exemplifies that,” said Sparks.

The Field Band comprises four main ensembles: the Concert Band, Soldiers’ Chorus, Jazz Ambassadors and Volunteers. The Concert Band is the oldest and largest of the ensembles with 65 instrumentalists. The Soldiers’ Chorus is a 29-member vocal ensemble. The Jazz Ambassadors are the Army’s premier jazz ensemble, and the Volunteers are a five-member band that focuses on rock, pop, jazz and country.

The band was organized in 1946 to strengthen the Army’s ties with civilian national and international communities.

“People learn about the Army by watching CNN and that’s an impersonal way to communicate,” said Staff Sgt. Carl Lindquist, trumpet player. “The Field Band interfaces with the public in a personal way. We feel closer to the public because they tell us their stories about their sons or daughters serving who are serving.”

The Field Band has undergone changes to modernize and better associate with the public during the years. In the 1960s, the Studio Band was created to reach young people through high school performances. The Studio Band later became the Jazz Ambassadors. Then an emphasis on high-energy pop led to the creation of the Volunteers in 1981.

Also participating in Sunday’s concert will be band alumni and four former band commanders, the oldest being in his mid-80s.

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